On March 8, 2014, I had my head and face shaved in solidarity with children with cancer. In the 2 months leading up to it, through today, I raised $3340 for childhood cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. No, St. Baldrick is not a real saint. The name comes from the event that started the organization being near St. Patrick’s Day and going bald. From their site:
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is proud to fund lifesaving research throughout the world, awarding grants that focus on all major types of childhood cancers.
St. Baldrick’s donors and volunteers have enabled the foundation to fund over $127 million in grants, allowing the foundation to fund more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Every grant goes through a rigorous scientific review process, ensuring every dollar has the greatest possible impact for children with cancer.
The event I took part in on March 8th at Helen Fitzgerald’s in St. Louis, MO had the most participants (679) and raised the most money ($529,000+) out of all of the organization’s nationwide events thus far in 2014. It is a very moving experience watching a stage full of people get shaven publicly for such a deserving cause, and sometimes even raise more funds on stage by putting a price on facial hair. The stories of children that inspired these people to participate included people shaving in memory of a child that passed away to children currently being treated actually shaving members of their family. You see/hear these stories and know that whatever we can do to better the lives of these children with cancer is a very good thing.
What I did was very little. As I raised funds, it helped me realize some things. In this age of social media, I was expecting donations to come in based on me simply posting a link. That didn’t work very well. Once I began personally engaging with folks on social media, through @’s on Twitter or personal messages on Facebook, I very rarely got a ‘no,’ and when I did, there was good reason given. Otherwise, for the most part, I was either ignored or received a pretty quick reply and a contribution. I wonder how much of it has to do with the personal contact or speaks more to how much people actually pay attention to our posts. Surely, some of it is pressure put on in the moment. I would say it is better to get a polite ‘no,’ or even be ignored, than get some kind of pledge that people do not come through on. That is quite a let down.
The fund raising was great for obvious reasons, but it also gave me the opportunity to catch up with many people I am friends with on Facebook but haven’t actually communicated with in some time. How many people are we friends with on Facebook that we haven’t actually communicated with in years?! In the process of picking up donations, I even was given a shot of tequila and a glass of wine. Charity pays!
People love goals. I raised my goal at least 5 times. When I passed a goal, people who hadn’t donated would congratulate me and assume their donation wasn’t needed. No, I did not magically cure cancer by hitting a small mark. You could donate daily and they’d still need more money before a cure is found. The goal isn’t to hit a mark. It is to find a cure, or at least to improve the quality of life for kids with cancer through breakthroughs in treatment.
With the help of 140 people that contributed to my effort, which I greatly appreciate, we got a smidge closer to that goal. It’s important that we realize outside of our bubble, people need our help. It’s good to recognize that and do whatever we can.
For more information on St. Baldrick’s:
To donate to my campaign: